On Love and Leadership
Did you know that:
- I self-identify as multiracial? My mom is from the Philippines, is mixed with Chinese, Spanish, Italian, and Native Islander, and self-identifies as Filipino. My dad is from Silver Hill, MD and self-identifies as Black and is also of Native American (Cherokee) and Irish descent.
- throughout my life I’ve been in rooms where people I know are telling racist jokes about Black people and they don’t realize that I’m Black?
- I’ve also been in rooms where people I know are telling racist jokes about Asian people and they don’t know I’m Asian?
- I’ve struggled with feelings of not belonging and unworthiness for pretty much my whole life because of growing up multiracial in the very White world of Northern Virginia independent schools and not having any positive role models for embracing my identity?
- the Klu Klux Klan burned a cross on my family’s property during the era of Jim Crow and that my family has kept it in our possession as reminder of our nation’s collective history of racial violence and terrorism?
- my maternal grandmother was very light-skinned and insisted I stay out of the sun so that I did not end up looking like I “worked in the fields”?
- my paternal grandmother, who was also very fair-skinned and could pass as White, was prejudiced against dark-skinned Black people AND White people?
- the first time I ever felt like I belonged anywhere was at the age of 35 in a multiracial affinity group at the People of Color Conference (POCC) run by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)?
Hi. I'm Heather. I'm a Transformational Leadership Coach, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Inspirational Speaker, Integrated Love, Sex, and Relationships Resource, and Artist.
I'm absolutely passionate about activating women, who crave a deeper, more integrated, and culturally competent understanding of their leadership identity and vision for the world, to help transition humanity to the next level of evolutionary consciousness.
There is a lot people don’t know about me.
While I’m generally a very open book, there are certain things about my life that I don’t just share straight away.
I have learned over the years to be very selective about with whom I share these stories, because not only are they painful for me to talk about (it gets a little easier every time but it still hurts), but because they also make other people feel uncomfortable.
This discomfort manifests itself in a number of ways which ultimately result in exposing myself to even greater harm, re-triggering racial traumas from childhood, and leaving me drained of my precious life-force energy.
A few years ago, before I started my coaching business, I was working in independent school education as Service Learning Coordinator and labored for free as a Diversity and Inclusion Practitioner.
I felt compelled to share some of these painful stories with students, colleagues, parents, and other educators from different schools in private conversations, small groups, and on stage as a speaker.
I needed to expel them from my body for my own health AND I was encouraged to do so by the school for the greater benefit of creating a more inclusive community.
While I know to a large extent it was incredibly healing for me and the community in many ways (I was a student at this school back in the day and I needed to begin to integrate the racially traumatic experiences that I had there), I see now that there came a point where it actually became harmful for me to continue sharing myself in this way.
After years of working to shine a light on ways we could build a stronger school community, which obviously involved openly questioning systems of power and privilege and our roles in maintaining them, it become glaringly obvious that I, and the small group of treasured colleagues and allies I collaborated with, had pushed the institution outside of its comfort zone. We had reached an impasse.
While I’m grateful that the school paid for me to attend some fantastic and life-changing diversity related conferences and trainings as professional development, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the emotional and mental labor this work consistently requires was not only unappreciated and undervalued, but actually invisible, and would remain so, indefinitely.
Feeling constrained, unfulfilled, burned out, and drained of my psychic and spiritual energy, I sought relief. I left education to become an entrepreneur and started my own coaching business.
Fast forward to 2018. Times have changed, to say the least.
Getting hired by one of my mentors, Layla Martin, to teach a class on “diversity awareness” about a month ago to over 100 women training to become Sex, Love, & Relationship Coaches through the Tantric Institute of Integrated Sexuality has disrupted my coaching business, my personal relationships, and frankly, my whole life, in profound ways that I’m still working through.
My dear friend Ali reminded me recently that writing has always been a wonderful processing tool for me. I’ve been writing everyday since I was hired to teach this class.
I’ve come to realize that the shifts I’m currently experiencing cannot be summed up in one blog, social media post, or new coaching offering.
It’s been a mixed bag of emotions, but before I spill my guts about what has unfolded since then, I need to tell you a few things:
- In order to stand in integrity as a Transformational Leadership & Love Coach, I’m circling back to and engaging with my diversity and inclusion work in a new and more holistic way. In the wise words of Dr. Cornel West, “Justice is what love looks like in public”. Also, working to heal my own deeply rooted, internalized oppression is now in the forefront of my consciousness and will be a lifelong endeavor.
- Engaging in this work requires a tremendous amount of emotional and mental labor from me and therefore, I’m no longer available to do this work for free anymore. (Thank you, Catrice Jackson and Layla Saad) If it speaks to you, I warmly invite you to support my creative work as a patron on Patreon here.
I’m still processing everything and have so much more to say, but going forward I’ll be doing so on this exciting, new platform.
My hope is that by sharing my stories and being in conversation about how I’m finding my way through will encourage you to do your own anti-racism work. It’s urgent.
Thank you for your support and patience as I attempt move through complex issues of sexuality, race, and social justice in my work. I understand that some people will be turned off by this new turn and that I may lose money, relationships, followers, etc. and I’m OK with that.
PS - I’ll be moving my most thoughtful and personal content from Instagram and Facebook to Patreon. If you feel called to support my creative work as a patron on this platform, you can do so here.